Northern Virginia Union Official Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Kickbacks

This March, Union Corruption Update made mention of an unnamed union official who enabled a convicted Maryland contractor, Howard Janoske, to siphon funds from his unnamed union for his own personal use. At least the official now has a name, and a criminal conviction to go along with it. On May 16, Michael Carney, a former facilities and real estate manager for the Herndon, Va.-based union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, theft and embezzlement of funds over a three-year period. Carney’s conviction, like that of Janoske, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Michael Carney, now 63, a resident of Ashburn, Va., who handled physical plant issues for the union, also saw his job as an opportunity to score some illegal money. According to federal prosecutors, Carney and an unnamed relative, starting in or around May 2012 and lasting until around mid-2015, received extensive things of value from Howard Janoske, a Maryland-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor in return for giving Janoske preference for providing HVAC service contracts. The things of value provided by Janoske included a high-end outdoor kitchen, and free HVAC and plumbing services. With Carney’s knowledge, Janoske and his subordinates also submitted inflated or fraudulent invoices to the union to recoup the expenses. The total estimate of the work was $146,932.

The U.S. Department of Labor, having examined the union’s financial statements, conducted a probe of apparent discrepancies. The department eventually concluded that Carney and Janoske had an illegal quid pro quo arrangement. This March 1, Janoske pleaded guilty to one count of honest services fraud, theft and embezzlement. It was only a matter of time before Carney would bite the bullet. On May 16, he was charged with the same offenses; he immediately pleaded guilty to them. Sentencing for Carney is scheduled for October 18. Perhaps his union and accomplice will be named soon.